Canada News

Recognition for African-Canadian business woman

By  | 17 December 2008 at 23:20 | 1083 views

Maria Arankunda(photo) is originally from Rwanda but has lived and worked in Vancouver, Canada, for many years. She is a beautician with a beauty salon in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

She was recently recognised as one of the 100 top female entrepreneurs in British Columbia by the Women’s Entrprise Centre, a leading business organization in the province.

The Women Enterprise Centre was established in 1995 by Western Economic Diversification Canada, to assist women in starting and growing businesses in British Columbia.

It has grown to to become the leading business resource centre in the province for women starting, purchasing or growing a small business. It provides essential business services and resources, as well as referrals to many other business service providers throughout the province.

Its team understands and relates to the unique circumstances of women business owners and its experienced business advisors, trainers and facilitators provide its clients with tools and confidence through a supportive, individual and practical approach.

Practical Skills Development:
Women Enterprise Centre provides ’real-world’ training and workshops in a number of essential subject areas required to run a strong and successful business, and in a variety of formats to suit busy entrepreneurs. Its do-it-yourself training is a handy way to learn tips for your small business.

Empowerment Lending:
WEC’s unique business financing combines loans up to $100,000 for new and existing businesses with ongoing business advice. This approach is designed to build business capacity and maximize resources.

Professional Guidance:
WEC offers advice for business challenges and growth strategies, as well as marketing and financial issues. We also have a number of tools to assist in the development of a business plan and will assess your plan for financing.

Networking Connections:
WEC connects women to other providers of business services throughout the province, and to networking and peer learning opportunities.

Resource Library:
WEC features an information-packed on-line resource library on its website at along with resource guides to start or grow a business.

Events and Workshops:
WEC hosts a number of inspirational events each year for women who want to start or grow a business. These often feature guest women entrepreneurs relating their stories and lessons. You’ll also see them at trade shows and business events around the province.

Making a Difference
In 1994, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) undertook research which identified gaps in access to financing and services for women entrepreneurs. To fill these gaps, WD committed $38.5 million to create Women’s Enterprise Initiatives in the four western provinces.

Each Women’s Enterprise Initiative administers a $5 million loan fund for women entrepreneurs unable to obtain traditional financing. These organizations provide complementary business counselling, resource information and referrals, business-to-business linking and a variety of innovative training programs.